Tapping into the illusions of time and displacement, “Autobodies” appears as a Skype call that takes place in real time. Audience members witness an evolving narrative of travel, loss, and disorientation as they connect via telepresence to the performers who are racing to make their arrival.
Protagonists Kristin McWharter and Eric Fanghanel are introduced when they connect to the Skype call from their vehicles. They are running late for the performance and are frantically driving through the streets as they try to find their meeting location (the gallery the audience is located) where the “performance” is scheduled to take place. As they drive, the audience hears their dialogue as they argue, attempt to coordinate, vent, and ultimately confuse one another. The pair are clearly lost and as the performance progresses the audience becomes aware of what seems to be a growing distance between them that reveals subtle deceptions of truth. As they drive, they move through both dense traffic of urban city streets as well as expansive swaths of desert and solitude. In the twenty-minute duration of the work, a sense of time is betrayed as they move through what seems to be both night and day, full time zones passing between them, and a growing anxiety in their discourse around the significance of their “lateness.”
Landmarks and subtle cues reveal that in fact an illogical distance has been traveled, their journey spanning several thousand miles through six states from California to Tennessee. The protagonists maintain their mission of arriving at the gallery in order to begin the performance throughout this warping of time and space and yet this looming distortion gives rise to a kind of paranoia that supersedes their purpose ultimately morphing their bodily presence (Jack Turpin) and their journey.
Ultimately, the work is a meditation on the deceptions of time, distance, and purpose and welcomes audiences into a dizzying fantastical stumbling. An opportunity to reconsider our attachment to the real in lieu of a small, albeit stressful, venture towards the unattainable.